McGill and Université de Montreal to hold majority of fall semester classes online

May 12 2020, 3:50 pm

Two universities in Montreal are going forward with online courses for the 2020 fall semester amid COVID-19 health and safety concerns .

McGill University and the University of Montreal are informing faculty and students that the majority of their courses will remain online and remote.

McGill says academic leadership and its teaching staff have been “fully dedicated” to coming up with “robust and high-quality programs and courses” that will offer students the needed flexibility for the fall semester.

The university says the fall semester will begin as scheduled and is committed to delivering the high-quality educational experience for which McGill is known.

“To allow McGill students to begin, or continue, their academic path no matter where they are, Fall 2020 courses will be offered primarily through remote delivery platforms,” the school said in a news release.

As the situation continues to evolve, McGill says it will examine possibilities for on-campus student life and activities, all while respecting public health’s safety protocols. “Keeping health and safety as its primary consideration, the University will aim to replicate virtually these activities to allow maximum participation by all,” continued the release.

The university says the coming fall semester could be different than in years past but McGill will still strive to be “just the same, with all of the academic excellence and strength of community for which the University is known.”

The Université de Montreal says its 2020 fall semester will be held “largely at a distance.” Only certain courses will be given on campus, a decision taken in the interest of public health and the population in general, according to Guy Breton, Rector of the Université de Montreal.

Breton explains the decision was made for “obvious logistical reasons,” and that any teaching that can be done remotely will be. “Our goal is to reduce the density of the population on campus by limiting the number of students and faculty strictly to what is necessary.”

The decision to keep the fall term mainly at bay also responds to obvious logistical reasons. A university term requires a high level of preparation and that of next fall promises to be a real organizational challenge. We are not the only ones facing this challenge: almost all Canadian and American universities are starting preparations for an autumn, most of which are at a distance. And most of our international partners have announced that they will not be hosting international mobility activities this fall.

Activities that are to be taken place at the U de M’s campus will be “reduced” and “chosen carefully.” The university will “strictly prioritize the activities allowed in the classroom and on campus.”

Breton pointed out that teaching methods will become flexible, with some programs offering more face-to-face courses than others. “Even within the same course, some sessions can be given remotely, others on campus, and some in front of students in the class – in particular laboratory or studio activities.”

Both schools said more information will be filtered out as the COVID-19 situation evolves into the summer.

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